Emirates Palace

An Abu Dhabi marvel

One of the most inspired properties in Abu Dhabi, Emirates Palace commands your attention. As you approach the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star jewel from the fountain-lined driveway with the marina in the background, the grand dome only grows more stunning.

The interior of the $3 billion palace is all the more captivating. The lobby and other public spaces feature grandiose displays of marble and gold leaf. Accommodations range from Arabian-style guest rooms to lavish three-bedroom suites spacious enough for a royal family. Even when you get down to the dining — there are nine sumptuous options across the property — you feel as if you’re a part of a regal celebration.

Our Inspector's Highlights

  • Though it's a challenge to fully quantify the scale of Emirates Palace, there are a few numbers that help tell the story: a 16,145-square-foot spa; 8,000 planted palms and other trees around the property; parking for 2,500 cars; 394 rooms and suites; and one grand auditorium that can seat more than 1,000 guests.
  • This is a destination for dining. The restaurant roster includes Italian fare (Mezzaluna), traditional Middle Eastern cuisine (Mezlai Emirati Restaurant) and the day's freshest catch (Sayad Seafood Restaurant).
  • In the cooler months, take advantage of the lush west wing lawn with a picnic on the first Saturday of each month. Your basket includes champagne, charcuterie and sandwiches — but in the hotel’s decadent fashion, more follows with a barbeque, chocolate fountain and kids’ entertainment.
  • The hotel’s atrium dome is the largest in the world, and though it’s nearly 200 feet above you, it’s hard to miss given that it’s covered in 22-karat gold leaf. Gold is a recurring theme here, where even cappuccinos and camel burgers are dusted with the shimmering mineral.
  • The Abu Dhabi hotel doesn’t just look palatial — it’s designed to host the region’s royalty with six Ruler Suites, one for each of the other Emirates’ sheikhs. Look out for other A-list regulars, such as Will Smith.

Things to Know

  • Families are wise to book a room in the west wing, closer to the kid-friendly Cascades Adventure Pool with slides and a lazy river, while couples should stick to the east wing with the Las Brisas Leisure Pool and an adults-only swim-up bar.
  • Be prepared for public spaces filled with gawping tourists.
  • With the size of the property and everything on offer (dining, spa, grounds to explore, free camel rides on the beach and water sports), this is a hotel best experienced over a few days; a night’s stay won’t suffice.

The Rooms

  • Every room comes with butler service, which includes the fantastic perk of unpacking and packing your clothes on arrival and departure.
  • With golden accents, draped curtains and rich textiles, accommodations at Emirates Palace mix Arabian elegance with Versailles-like opulence, without going too over the top, unlike some other ultra-luxe hotels in the region.
  • The standard Coral Room is spacious and plush, but the nearly 3,000-square-foot one-bedroom Royal Khaleej Suite is made for special occasions and overtures with its own Jacuzzi, Swarovski crystal chandeliers and sea views.

The Restaurants

  • A popular spot in London, Hakkasan here is just as exceptional. The setting is sophisticated with well-crafted cocktails and the duck dishes, in particular, are a highlight on the modern Chinese menu.
  • Get a delicious taste of local cuisine at Mezlai. Designed to look and feel like a Bedouin tent, the Emirati restaurant does specialties like slow-cooked camel chops with raisins, rose water, cashew nut, saffron and roasted pumpkin puree, and lamb tharid, a stew accompanied by cracker-like regag bread.
  • The breakfast buffet at Le Vendome is as expansive as the luxury hotel itself, with German pretzels, labneh (a tangy yogurt) and muhammara (a red pepper dip), healthy drinks (from wheatgrass juice to banana smoothie), eggs every way and all the other usual suspects available.
  • For fresh seafood, visit Sayad (which is Arabic for “fisherman”). The contemporary restaurant serves everything from red snapper to lobster.
  • At Mezzaluna, find Italian food like linguine ai frutti di mare, with prawns, lobster, scallops, calamari, langoustines, clams and mussels, or a hearty porcini risotto.

Babysitting services
Fitness classes
Meeting rooms
Outdoor pool
Getting There
West Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
AUH (32 min)  
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